Sunshine Stars have always had the upper hand any time they went away to Rivers United. Two seasons ago, Sunshine Stars strutted from Port Harcourt with a 1-0 victory courtesy of Thompson Ezekiel’s lone strike and, ahead of their encounter this season in an NPFL Matchday 10 fixture, Rivers United faced the prospect of another such defeat just after they had also fallen away to Akwa United in Uyo on Matchday 9.
Sunshine Stars, however, saw a different current at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt, on Sunday as a resilient Rivers United turned the table, rallying from behind to secure a 2-1 win over the Owena Whales.
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Sunshine Stars had shot into the lead in the 19th minute when Timileyin Ogunjiyi knocked home a pass from Waheed Adebayo and it seemed like they were right on track to produce their usual win or draw but their joy was shortlived as Peter Ubakanma equalized from a corner kick situation in the 22nd minute and the hosts secured a penalty when Michael Stephen was fouled in Sunshine Stars box at the start of the second half and Konan N’Gouan hammered it in for the winner.
Not even the league’s highest goalscorer, Israel Abia, could save Sunshine Stars from the defeat.
Eguma says, with the victory, Rivers United have broken the jinx against Sunshine Stars and declares that the Akure team will henceforth always have to fall anytime they stepped foot on Port Harcourt.
Speaking after the game, Eguma revealed that the turnaround came from the concerted decision of the players and technical crew to reverse the record of their usual loss to the visitors.
“It was a resolution of the entire team that we have to beat Sunshine Stars this time. They have been very lucky any time they come to Port Harcourt in the past few years. So, we resolved we have to beat them by working hard. And we did that,” Eguma enthused.
“After we lost to Akwa (United) in Uyo, we came back and resolved that we have to beat Sunshine in our next game. Even when they scored the first goal, it didn’t deter us, it didn’t demoralize us.
The players came back to the game and equalised, and went ahead to get the second goal. So I think we have broken the jinx and henceforth, Sunshine will always fall in Port Harcourt.”